Authors of section


Ronald Lehman, Daniel Riew, Klaus Schnake

General Editor

Luiz Vialle

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C2 pedicle screw insertion

1. Preoperative measurements

Pedicle vs. pars

When only a C1 – C2 arthrodesis is done, we prefer to use a C2 pedicle screw over a C2 pars screw. This is because the pars screw starting hole is more distal and therefore requires more muscle dissection. But, if a C2 pedicle screw is not possible, then we place a C2 pars screw.

c2 pedicle screw insertion

2. Preoperative evaluation

A preoperative CT image must be evaluated to determine if this screw is possible. Some patients have a pedicle that is too small to accept such a screw.

3. Screw entry point

The pedicle screw starts more cranially than the pars screw and it is directed medially.

To find the starting point for the pedicle screw, draw a line along the cranial leading edge of the C2 lamina (1).

Then, draw a line along the midpoint of the pars mediolaterally (2) (see illustration).

c2 pedicle screw insertion

4. Drilling

Burr a starting-hole 2 mm lateral to this intersection.

c2 pedicle screw insertion

Use either a pedicle probe or a handheld drill to drill the hole for the pedicle screw.

The direction of the drill is approximately 30° – 45° medial and craniocaudally angled to the bottom half of the tubercle of C1.

c2 pedicle screw insertion

5. Screw insertion

Tap, measure the length, and place the screw. Typically a unicortical screw that is longer than 20 mm is adequate.

Placing a C2 pedicle screw
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